KEEP EVOLVING: Mike and Jenny Parsons from Mudjimba News community store are a small business success story but the hours are long.
KEEP EVOLVING: Mike and Jenny Parsons from Mudjimba News community store are a small business success story but the hours are long. Brett Wortman

Mark knows all business must evolve

SMALL business man Mark Parsons says those who fail to innovate and don't search constantly for new markets may as well give the game away.

He and his wife Jenny have run the Mudjimba News community store for the past 13 years. The job involves long hours and is getting tougher rather than easier.

"But that's the case for everyone,'' Mr Parson said.

He agrees with a new Australian Attitudes to Small Business Report, commissioned by American Express, that has found small businesses are implementing a raft of new strategies to keep them competitive.

The survey found 41% were investing in an online or social presence; 29% were price discounting; 26% were increasing marketing and advertising; 26% were negotiating better deals with suppliers; 26% were increasing the range of products they sold; 23% were forming

alliances with other businesses; 19% were investing in new technology; and 15% were considering longer opening hours to survive.

Critically, two in five of those surveyed were unsure they would be around in five years.

The Parsons' store is jam-packed with every type of product available and soft drink prices have stayed at a dollar a can for years.

"You need to identify ideas the big guys aren't carrying,'' Mr Parsons said.

"You have to offer a service. The newsagents' federation is negotiating with carrier companies to discount parcel pick-up and delivery and parcel post."

The deal potentially will see Fastaway, Toll and Couriers Please use small newsagencies as drop-off points for parcels when the recipient is not at home.

"Innovation and new products," Mr Parsons said.

"You can't just rest on your laurels.

"You may as well give it away if you do that.

"You have to reward your staff before yourself. They are the front line.

"Be active in the community and engage with customers.''

Will they still be in business in five years?

Mr Parsons is unsure.

The hours of work each day take a toll and the couple wants to travel.



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